Lambeth Council has approved a £4 million emergency sustainable transport plan in a bid to make streets safer and help residents social distance.  

The measures, to be rolled out over the next six months, will see the delivery of the council’s transport strategy rapidly sped up, with an initial £1.8 million committed from the council’s budget.  

Lambeth will then make a bid to Transport for London to cover the full cost of the works, which if successful could see rat-running eliminated from up to 12 neighbourhoods in the borough.

The plan, which also aims to “boost safe and sustainable transport to support the borough’s economic recovery, and to improve air quality”, includes widening footways in at least six more locations across the borough, and creating low traffic neighbourhoods by removing rat-running through-traffic. 

Footway locations will be prioritised based on “evidence of need”, while LTNs were chosen based on transport strategy priorities, and where development and engagement work has already been carried out. 

If all necessary funding is secured, the LTNs will include Oval Triangle, Railton, Ferndale, Streatham Hill, Streatham Wells, Brixton Hill, and Tulse Hill, as well five more, which have yet to be identified.  

The council is planning eight ‘healthy routes’, roads modified to be safe for walking and cycling, including Cycleway 5, Loughborough Road, Kennington Road, Barrington Road, Atlantic Road, Streatham to Peckham cycleway, Coldharbour Lane, and Brixton Water Lane.  

Lambeth will also be increasing the number of access only roads, including Cornwall Road, St Matthew’s Road, and Windmill Drive.  

Cllr Claire Holland, Lambeth’s deputy leader and cabinet member for sustainable transport, environment and clean air, said: “We have already moved quickly to enable social distancing by widening pavements across the borough but now, as we move into the future and lockdown restrictions ease, we need to prepare for more people being out and about on our streets.  

“That means ensuring residents are able to move around our borough safely.  

“Taking action to make our streets safer is crucial as people slowly return to work in our town centres, local businesses reopen, and more people are looking to shop and access services whilst also having to maintain some form of social distancing. 

“Londoners are being asked by the Prime Minister not to use public transport unless it is absolutely essential.  

“With more than half of Lambeth’s residents not owning a vehicle and many people likely to be fearful of using public transport, it is an absolute priority that we ensure our streets and neighbourhoods are safe so that residents feel able to choose safe and accessible alternatives 

“Our plan will keep Lambeth moving, reduce the risk of road danger due to excess speeding and reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission, all whilst having additional benefits of cleaning up our air, reducing carbon emissions and creating healthier neighbourhoods for our communities.  

“We cannot replace one health crisis with another.” 

According to the report on the plans “a return to the ‘status quo’, where many of our streets are dominated by motor vehicles with the resulting road danger, air quality and climate change impacts, is not an option”.  

The creation of the LTNs is due to start on June 1 with Oval, followed by Railton on June 8, Ferndale on June 22, and Streatham Hill on July 6.  

The plan includes three different scenarios, depending on what funding becomes available.  

The baseline scenario, which will go ahead regardless of TfL funding, includes widening footways in six more locations, implementing LTNs in Oval, Railton, Ferndale, and Streatham Hill, turning Cycleway 5, Loughborough Road, and Kennington Road into healthy routes, and making Cornwall Road, St Matthew’s Road, and Windwill Drive access only roads.  

It also includes putting £150,000 into bike hangars, parklets, cycle training and promotion, and a package of school streets, which involve timed closures around schools.  

The second scenario, baseline +, will be implemented if more funding is secured, but does not cover the full amount. 

It includes widening footways in more areas, creating LTNs in Streatham Wells, Brixton Hill, and Tulse Hill, turning Barrington Road, Atlantic Road, and Streatham to Peckham Cycleway into healthy routes, and adding more access only roads. 

The max scenario represents the full programme, provided enough funding become available, and includes up to five more LTNs, turning Coldharbour Lane and Brixton Water lane in healthy routes, and adding more access only roads.  

It also includes more funding for other sustainable transport measures, such as bike hangars and promoting cycling.